RUSH: Speaking of all that, the NFL, folks, this is incredible what is happening at the NFL. Let me see if I can put this in some kind of context. I don’t know what the starting point of this is. Let’s start by setting the table. The NFL is having continued ratings problems. Now the news has come out that the pregame shows, which are heavily sponsored, by the way, are really, really losing audience. The games themselves are losing audience for a host of reasons. I mean, you can go down the list. The stars, a lot of them, are injured and hurt and not playing, the big attractions.
The games, most of them week to week are not compelling, they’re not exciting, not even on paper. The protests, the players kneeling and not respecting the anthem and the flag and the military, I mean, it all just comes together that it is a huge mess.
And now on top of that, they are renegotiating the six-member compensation committee of the NFL, which is made up of six owners, has been renegotiating the contract of Roger Goodell, who is the commissioner. And he’s been earning, on average, $44 million the last two or three years, plus incentives. And his deals are laced with incentives.
Well, the contract negotiation is offering him a massive increase while the league is imploding. And there’s some owners who think this doesn’t make any sense. Why are we gonna raise this guy this kind of money when the league is falling apart? And one of the owners leading that is Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys.
Now, somebody leaked out there that Goodell, latest contractual demands, were $50 million a year annual compensation plus lifetime use of a private jet, plus lifetime health care for him and his family. Now, if that doesn’t tell you what everybody thinks that’s gonna end up costing as the years go by. Somebody earning $50 million a year is asking for his family’s health care to be paid for, rather than him paying for it out of his $50 million. And, of course, his jet.
Jerry Jones is saying, “What in the name of Sam Hill are we doing?” He’s not on the compensation committee, but he’s been storming in there and acting like he is, and he’s a one man machine trying to slow this down and stop it. Goodell’s contract has 18 months to go before it expires. You throw in the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott, the star running back of the Cowboys, for six games, and Jerry Jones is fit to be tied.
And there is a story in the New York Post that — oh. One other piece of news before we get to the story in the New York Post. There has now been a story that the owners of the NFL are so fed up with Jerry Jones that they are looking at ways of literally taking the franchise away from him.
Now, Forbes magazine rates the Dallas Cowboys as the wealthiest franchise in the NFL. It’s a guess. They add all of the various revenue sources, and they come up with this, and I think the Cowboy values are like four billion; is that right, or two billion, something like that. And apparently the NFL has bylaws where, if there’s one owner acting as a detriment to the league, the other owners get in there and just take his franchise from him. And so that got reported that that’s in the works.
Well, that can’t happen. They can’t take somebody’s franchise away from ’em. They can make life hell for an owner that is causing trouble, but there is no mechanism to actually cause somebody to forfeit a franchise. I mean, maybe there is if there’s, you know, abject criminal behavior involved, but even then I’m not sure.
Well, Jones heard all this, and he just said, “You guys and try. You go and try take my franchise away from me.” And it’s turning into a knock-down-drag-out. So in the New York Post today, Jerry Jones says (paraphrasing), “Look, if you thought Bob Kraft” — who owns the Patriots — “if you thought Bob Kraft gave Goodell trouble when he suspended Brady, Bob Kraft is a vagina compared to what I’m gonna do to Goodell over suspending Ezekiel Elliott and so forth.” So it is blowing up here.
All it took was for Jones to hear that some of the owners may be thinking of trying to take his team away from him. He did. He called him a wussy. He said that Bob Kraft is a wussy compared to what I’m gonna do.
Now, what did Kraft do? When Brady was suspended for the Deflategate, Bob Kraft took a totally different way. Robert Kraft took a diplomacy route because, in addition to Brady being suspended for whatever number of games, four games, there was a million-dollar fine levied against the Patriots. And Kraft made the decision, show of goodwill and league unity, to pay the fine.
Now, at the time of Brady Deflategate, the stories going around were that there were five or six owners that were leaning on Goodell to let the Patriots have it, five or six owners who have not gotten over the Patriots’ cheating on videogate and whatever it was. Remember when the Eric Mancini, the coach of the Jets, revealed that the Patriots had a videotape system that they were violating the rules using. The league fined Belichick, the head coach, a half million dollars, and there was a fine, some draft choices.
But some NFL owners — and I know the names, but that’s for another time — just don’t like the Patriots ’cause they win all the time, and now you add to it the prospect that they may have been cheating. I don’t think that they were, and apparently some of the owners were just leaning on Goodell to not let the Patriots get away with this. So you’re gonna put the pedal-to-the-metal, Goodell, and these guys are gonna pay whatever freight can. .Deflategate tampered with the game, the integrity of the game, letting the air out of the footballs and that’s why Goodell went after ’em because the other owners were making him.
And so Robert Kraft decided to go the diplomacy route with Brady being suspended, tried to play it along, pay the million-dollar fine, try to build some goodwill. And it didn’t work. The league went after Brady and stayed after Brady until he served his four weeks. Well, now the shoe’s on the other foot with Jerry Jones. His player’s been suspended, and he doesn’t like it, and so it’s — anyway, folks, cut to the chase on this.
What is happening is that the National Football League today is not even about football. And that’s the big problem. Everything making news about the NFL is not what happens on the field. The things making news in the NFL are not things that are the reasons people watch or pay to attend or buy licensed merchandise or any of that. And it’s uncharted territory. The NFL has not been in this set of circumstances in a long, long time.
The NFL is used to be being loved, adored, and at the top of the sports heap, the top of the television heap, the top of everything. And now it isn’t that way at all, and it’s got some people quite uncomfortable because they can see now in finite terms that the golden goose has a limit and may in fact have laid its biggest eggs and what’s down the road isn’t what everybody thought it was gonna be. So tensions are fraying. Couple this with ESPN losing subscribers, losing viewers, man, what a reversal of fortunes. But that’s the latest on that.
RUSH: I need to mention, you happen to be an NFL fan or fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, quarterback Jameis Winston is being investigated by the NFL for grabbing the crotch of an Uber driver in 2016 — a female driver, in case you’re wondering. The hits just keep on coming.